The prophets were commissioned spokespersons for God not mystical fortune tellers and it was not a glamorous job. For example, Isaiah was commanded to walk around naked (and barefoot) for three years (Isa. 20:1-4) and Ezekiel was commanded to lay on his side for years and eat food cooked over poop (Ezek. 4:4-12)! Seriously…poop! Oh yeah, the benefits of the job also included untimely death! (Luke 13:34).
Why would God subject anyone to such treatment? Well, the prophets had a momentous task. They were to call Israel to be what they were created to be such as a blessing to the nations, a kingdom of priests and a light that would bring all the world to worship the one true God (Gen. 12:3; Exod. 19:6; Isa. 49:6).
God created Israel to be a community of worship and peace. A place where immigrants, widows and orphans were cared for (Exod. 22:21-24) and where the poor were treated justly (Exod. 23:6) and all debts were totally forgiven (Lev. 25:8-17).
Yet, The Israelites did not listen to the prophets, so God sent them back into slavery in a foreign land (2 Kgs. 24:14; Jer. 13:15ff) BUT, mercifully, He promised to bring them home and restore His people (Ezek. 36-37). Now, God made it clear that He alone would His people for His glory (Ezek. 36:22-32). They could not earn this restoration. Yet, the Israelites were impatient. They felt that their exile continued even after they returned to their home land (Dan. 9). They waited and waited and waited…untily they even began to try and force the nation into piety in order to earn God’s favor. Bad mistake.
Then a prophet arose in the desert named John. Could he be the one to rescue Israel? Nope. He claimed that he only came to prepare the way for another (John 1:6-28; 3:22-36) and that’s when Jesus arrives healing the sick, feeding the hungry, befriending the foreigner, and while not necessarily acting bizarrely, like the prophets of old, He certainly taught controversial ways to live (see Matt. 5:1-7:29).
Jesus formed a new community where people worship God, accept all, live simply, share everything they have (Acts 2:42-46) and love those who even seek to kill them (Acts 7:60). Why? He was creating an “Israel” (a people of God) who would be a community of worship and peace. We call it “church.” But 2000 years later is the church such a community? Is it such a light to the nations?
Are we at Revolution even such an alternative community? Or do we try to earn God’s favor and force blessings? If so, what makes such a community possible and how?
The leadership at Revolution shares a vision. It is a vision frame that includes a three step process: Connection (worship & evangelism); Community (small discipleship groups); and Contribution (serving our God through justice and mercy). We believe that IF follow such a structure that PERHAPS God will bless it and the darkness in the area will tremble. If God doesn’t bless it then it won’t matter but we truly believe that God has given us this vision. Yet, to execute this plan, it will take time and sacrifice. Are we capable? Will you give up 4 hours of your life to be trained to be a missionary in southern Ohio? Will you commit to meeting with a group for an hour or so a week to study Scripture, pray together, hold each other accountable and discuss how to evangelize and serve God? Will you go with your group to feed the poor and homeless once a month? Will you? Let us know.
We believe that God will bless this structure to create an alternative community of worship & peace here in southern Ohio all to His glory. What do you think?
Posted by Matt Rawlings, member of the Leadership Team.